Civitas report on wind power the work of ‘cranks’ says industry

A ferocious attack on the UK's wind industry has been launched by a think tank which claims the technology wouldn't even be 'entertained' if it wasn't for Government targets.

Civitas, in energy costs: the folly of wind power, argues the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive should be renegotiated as it is too pro wind power.

The directive, aims for the UK to achieve 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020, and the UK’s contribution to European emission cutting efforts.

The think tank, which has been described as ‘classical liberal’ in its approach, says a focus on wind-power, driven by the renewables targets, is preventing Britain from effectively reducing CO2 emissions.

The study by Civitas’s director of manufacturing renewal project, Ruth Lea, is based on research by Colin Gibson, a former National Grid director.

In claims, which has been heavily criticised by the industry, also argues wind power is ‘crippling’ energy users with additional.

It goes on to claim finds that wind-power is ‘unreliable’ and requires back-up power stations to be available in order to maintain a consistent electricity supply to households and businesses.

The report goes on to say that besides the ‘prohibitive costs’ wind-power, backed by conventional gas-fired generation, can emit more CO2 than the most efficient gas turbines running alone.

The report concludes: “[Wind-power] is expensive and yet it is not effective in cutting CO2 emissions.

“If it were not for the renewables targets set by the Renewables Directive, wind-power would not even be entertained as a cost-effective way of generating electricity or cutting emissions. The renewables targets should be renegotiated with the EU.”

RenewableUK’s director of policy, Dr Gordon Edge, said: “It is surprising that a think tank such as Civitas has published a report based on the work of anti-wind cranks, repeating the same discredited assertions.

“The UK’s energy policy over the next ten years will play a critical part in our economic success – offshore wind in particular has the potential to revitalise our manufacturing sector, with the promise of over 70,000 jobs.

This report, based on outdated and inaccurate information, does nothing to advance the debate.

“Mr Gibson’s assumptions, upon which Ms Lea relies, are outliers to the mainstream of analysis in this area, to put it mildly.

“Dedicated open-cycle gas turbines plants are not required to provide back-up for wind.

“Instead, wind can be integrated into our existing electricity system to act as a fuel saver, enabling us to harness the weather when it’s available.

“Some additional investment is required, but credible analysis puts the cost at one-sixth of Mr Gibson’s inflated claims even with wind providing two-thirds of our power.”

Dr Edge added that Ms Lea’s report makes extensive use of ‘non-peer-reviewed’ research from a range of ‘anti-wind organizations’.

Luke Walsh

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